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WALES: Father and son in polar trip for charity.

A FATHER and son team will set off tomorrow on an unsupported trip to the South Pole that will raise money for a North Wales cancer centre.

The expedition, should it succeed, will see gap year student Matt Gaskell, 18, become the youngest person to complete the treacherous journey to the coldest place on earth.

The teenager will set out with his father, Kevin, 50, to cross the Antarctic, fighting some of the world's most extreme weather conditions.

Mr Gaskell, chairman of Achilles Group Limited, a multinational provider of procurement audit services, is raising funds for the North Wales Cancer Treatment Centre at Glan Clwyd Hospital.

He is making the expedition in memory of his younger sister Jayne, who died from leukaemia in 2004, and aims to raise pounds 40,000.

Facing temperatures as low as - 50C and battling winds in excess of 50km/ph, the pair hope to cover 300km to reach their destination.

In another first, supporters will be able to follow them via live updates to their blog, made by using a satellite phone.

The pair, from Newbury, Berkshire, have given themselves a month to cross the frozen wastes of the Antarctic, either on foot or on skis.

They will climb to 10,000ft, pulling sledges weighing more than 135lb (61kg).

But both remain confident they can - and will - achieve what has eluded so many before them.

Speaking ahead of their departure, Mr Gaskell said: "Like all of these things, it's taken a lot of preparation, a year to train and suddenly it's happening.

"I'm feeling apprehensive but very excited. The temperatures are going to be around -50C and anyone would be foolish to go into that sort of environment without any concerns."

Their progress can be monitored at www.southpole2009.com.
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Publication:Daily Post (Liverpool, England)
Date:Dec 26, 2008
Words:295
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